Some New Year resolutions are abandoned faster than a freshly launched diet. But a serious commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle is something all of us can get on board with. And it can even be fun—especially if you dive into the local thrift store scene.
Richmond has a good array of shops teeming with pre-owned treasures. And while anything you buy from stores like these reduces your ecological footprint, the thrill of nailing a great deal is also intoxicating. Keen to give it a try? Read on for details on some of our favourite Richmond thrift stores.
But if thrift store shopping isn't your thing, don't worry—Richmond is full of great malls, big box stores, and boutiques.
Inside the the SOS Children's Village Thrift Store. | Photo: John Lee
RICHMOND HOSPITAL/HEALTHCARE AUXILIARY THRIFT SHOP
3731 Chatham Street
Give yourself plenty of browsing time here—every interior inch of this gabled former church in Steveston is covered. Regulars keep coming back for the bargain-priced clothing, most of which takes a simple ‘universal pricing’ approach. That means racks of tops at $5 each, rails of $1 kids’ clothing, and shelves teeming with footwear ready to walk out the door at $5 per pair. If you’re looking for something special, there are also some individually priced ‘boutique clothing’ items you might find in higher-end vintage stores.
But there’s much more than clothing to discover here. Don't miss the books, toys, hardware, and jewelry sections—and be sure to check out the stand of old vinyl records as well. Also, save time for the curio tables, where you might find everything from German beer steins to colourful Mexican bowls: there are also quarterly (and hotly anticipated) Curio Sales where bargains abound. The building was being renovated on our visit but it’s mostly operating as normal during the process––check their website for updates.
Browsable vinyl at the Richmond Hospital/Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Shop. | Photo: John Lee
SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE THRIFT STORE
3800 Moncton Street
Also located in Steveston, this shop is dedicated to raising funds for foster families and at-risk youth. Pass through the unassuming blue-accented façade of this store and you’ll find a larger browsing area than you might have imagined. Value-priced clothing dominates the wide front section, which is lined with racks covering every possible wearable item, neatly divided into sections. Womenswear takes up the lion’s share of floorspace here and it’s the kind of shop where dedicated browsing uncovers unexpected gems—we spotted a cool 1970s sweater for $5 on our visit.
The L-shaped back room almost feels like a different store. It’s lined with shelves displaying ornaments, housewares, and quirky knickknacks but there can also be cool collectibles here, depending on what has been donated. We recently spotted some ornately painted plates that vintage train fans would love as well as several feline-themed items for cat lovers. At the very back of the store, there are also plenty of books, DVDs, and board games to check out.
Collectible plates at the SOS Children's Village Thrift Store. | Photo: John Lee
RICHMOND FAMILY PLACE THRIFT STORE
8660 Ash Street
A smaller, hidden gem store that’s well worth hunting down, this bright and friendly volunteer-run shop supports programs that help children and families throughout the area. Clothing abounds but you’ll also find books, jewelry, linens, household items, and more here. We enjoyed perusing the paperbacks on our visit a while back, discovering two almost-new copies of some sought-after David Sedaris novels.
Bargains are the approach at this store (clothing is especially well-priced), but there are also regular Sale Days when extra discounts apply. These include half-price days on specific categories (shoes or books, for example) as well as bag sales when you can fill a provided bag for just $5. Ask the friendly staffers when the next discount day is coming up—but keep in mind that Mondays are always half-price for seniors.
Books are a staple item at most of Richmond's thrift stores. | Photo: John Lee
RAPS ANIMAL HOSPITAL THRIFT STORE
9040 Francis Road
A two-minute drive from the Richmond Family Place store, the city’s Regional Animal Protection Society—aka RAPS—opened its second thrift shop on Francis Road in 2018 (in the old Danny’s Market location). Supporting the vital animal welfare work of this popular Richmond organization (they run a busy cat sanctuary that you can also visit), this large, bright store stocks a well-presented array of books, jewelry, tools, furniture, appliances, household items, and more.
Almost all clothing items here are priced well under $10 each (there were lots of $2.50 T-shirts when we visited a while back). And if you like their goods and really want to support their animal-focused cause, consider doubling-up and visiting their first shop as well. Located at 8260 Granville Avenue, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary Thrift Store is a five-minute drive away and it’s also packed with gently used bargain items.
BC SPCA THRIFT MART
#160 - 5400 Minoru Boulevard
Located close to the Canada Line in the heart of Richmond’s city centre, this gigantic store has the jam-packed look of a warehouse storage space that got out of hand—in a good way. Everything is piled high and crammed into every conceivable corner, and you need to give yourself plenty of time to check it all out while squeezing between the furniture, housewares, electronics, tools, and just about everything else you can imagine.
This sprawling space isn’t brightly lit, so you might want to bring a small flashlight with you to properly explore all the hidden nooks and crannies. Keep in mind that many items are not priced, which means bargaining is acceptable and deals can definitely be had: we picked up a large glass vase for a dollar a while back, after discovering it hiding behind rows of old beer glasses.